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Armageddon in Retrospect by Kurt Vonnegut

Armageddon in Retrospect (2008)

by Kurt Vonnegut

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Showing 1-5 of 26 (next | show all)
Armageddon in Retrospect and Other New and Unpublished Writings on War and Peace was published exactly one year after Kurt Junior Vonnegut’s death on April 11, 2007. It’s a diverse collection: a moving 10 page introduction by his son Mark, a horrifically blunt 3 page letter from Kurt to his family, dated May 29, 1945 – written in Germany right after the war, a speech he was supposed to deliver on April 27, 2007 in Indianapolis, and – the bulk of the book – 11 short stories, undated, ranging from 4 pages to 26 pages each. Armageddon In Retrospect is also illustrated by Vonnegut’s characteristic drawings, often including text.


The real value of this book aren’t really the stories. They’re good, don’t get me wrong, and some are even excellent – Spoils is haunting in its short, brutal simplicity. But the real value is (...)

Please read the full review on Weighing A Pig ( )
  bormgans | Sep 21, 2016 |
There's a great introduction by Vonnegut's son & the book is read by Rip Torn, a favorite actor of mine.

It's pretty interesting. The point of 'Sirens', as put forth by David in #18, seems to have been echoed by Vonnegut's son in a completely unrelated chat between the two shortly before Kurt's death. It's worth reading, if only for the intro.

The first story was a speech he gave in 2007 & that seems to have set the tone. The stories so far are OK, but Vonnegut's Dresden horror stories made up most & got a bit old. He's very anti-war & continually points out it's stupid & horrible. There were a few 5 star stories that really put a face on the horrors of war perfectly, but most wandered about in a rather long-winded manner which didn't do the point any favors. The title story came last & had a couple of good or amusing points, but was a disappointment overall.

Overall, typical Vonnegut & worth reading especially if you've liked his other works. ( )
  jimmaclachlan | Aug 18, 2014 |
It's a posthumous book of fictions and nonfictions. Some stories shine brighter than others but all of Vonnegut's usual playful pessimism is there in full force. There were a couple of stories that I didn't quite care for but there is a facsimile copy of a letter Vonnegut wrote to his family after being liberated from POW status. This alone I felt was worth the price of admission.

( )
  dtn620 | Sep 22, 2013 |
Certainly not the best Vonnegut I've read. The most striking piece, however, was his letter home to "people," i.e. his family, as a POW in Germany. It's a wonder he lived as long as he did. ( )
  katemo | May 16, 2013 |
Armageddon in Retrospect could be seen as a shout from the grave, a humanist’s last call from the afterlife, if Vonnegut hadn’t already played out that trope in God Bless You, Dr. Kevorkian by doing interviews with the dead for his local NPR station. Instead, it is merely another installment in his long line of story collections. And from Welcome to the Monkey House and Wampeters, Foma and Granfalloons through the recently-collected magazine stories in Bagombo Snuffbox, Vonnegut’s short work has been consistent in its quality.

Unlike all of Vonnegut’s prior collections, though, these stories have never been published before. As noted above, they all exhibit Vonnegut’s careful high polish, so perhaps their common theme is what kept them in his desk drawer.

As the title suggests, these pieces are all about the end of the world. For Vonnegut, this was World War II, in which he fought, and during which he survived the Allied fire-bombing of Dresden. He struggled with what he saw for years, until finally decanting it as Slaughterhouse-5, but we never really saw this struggle in print until now.

The pieces in Armageddon are undated, except for Vonnegut’s letter home from a Red Cross camp once the war ended and the speech he was preparing when he died, so we can’t attribute them to a particular period in his career. “Guns before Butter” and The Commandant’s Desk”, however, stand up well with the best of his previously published short pieces-- this is not simply mining the files of a dead icon for easy money, but a unified collection of highly personal material. And as his son Mark says in the introduction, “(e)ven if the content of any given piece isn’t interesting to you, look at the structure and rhythm and choices of words. If you can’t learn about reading and writing from Kurt, maybe you should be doing something else.”

As an added bonus, the book is illustrated with prints from Vonnegut’s post-novelist career as a graphic artist.
1 vote EverettWiggins | Apr 9, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kurt Vonnegutprimary authorall editionscalculated
Kraamer, BartTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Torn, RipNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vonnegut, MarkIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0399155082, Hardcover)

The first and only collection of unpublished works by Kurt Vonnegut since his death--a fitting tribute to the author, and an essential contribution to the discussion of war, peace, and humanity's tendency toward violence.

Armageddon in Retrospect is a collection of twelve new and unpublished writings on war and peace. Imbued with Vonnegut's trademark rueful humor, the pieces range from a visceral nonfiction recollection of the destruction of Dresden during World War II--an essay that is as timely today as it was then--to a painfully funny short story about three Army privates and their fantasies of the perfect first meal upon returning home from war, to a darker, more poignant story about the impossibility of shielding our children from the temptations of violence. Also included are Vonnegut's last speech as well as an assortment of his artwork, and an introduction by the author's son, Mark Vonnegut. Armageddon in Retrospect says as much about the times in which we live as it does about the genius of the writer.

Read an Unreleased Kurt Vonnegut Story, "Guns Before Butter"

"Guns Before Butter," Kurt Vonnegut's story of hungry GIs held as prisoner of war in World War II in Dresden (a site of Vonnegut's best-known novel, Slaughterhouse-Five, and his own wartime imprisonment), was unpublished until its inclusion in Armageddon in Retrospect. Read the complete story here.

Kurt Vonnegut Sketchbook

Click through on the images below to see samples of the artwork included in Armageddon in Retrospect:

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:29 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Twelve previously unpublished writings on war and peace include such pieces as an essay on the destruction of Dresden, a story about the first-meal fantasies of three soldiers, and a meditation on the impossibility of shielding children from the temptations of violence.… (more)

» see all 5 descriptions

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